AM - Easy shake-out run this morning. Feeling good!
PM - Race time tonight was right around 9:40 at Cal State-L.A. The weather was perfect, nice and cool with a very light breeze. And the track had a cool feel to it with all the palm trees around. My primary goal tonight was to get a conference qualifier (33:03) and secondary was to push the second half of the race to see how my shape is coming along.
The race was pretty uneventful. I wanted to be sure to get out easy and controlled to avoid a blowup like I had in my last 5k. First 800m was in 2:36, and from there I rolled off steady 79-80s. I went through the first 5k a little slow (16:33) due to relaxing just a bit too much as the seemingly endless quarters rolled by. But I felt pretty relaxed and was set to start cranking down the pace.
Now, despite making not one, not two, but three pre-race pit stops, something managed to shake loose right around 5k, and I found myself exerting a lot of energy to.... well... avoid making a scene mid-race. And I couldn't seem to put my energy into both cranking down the pace and squeezing the cheeks together, so I found myself continuing to roll off consistent 79s. I was cutting it really close, but I picked up the pace just enough in the final mile to put myself in striking distance and was able to click off a 73 second final lap to sneak under the qualifier.
I have a hard time getting excited to race when I'm not in the shape I want to be in, but I had a lot of fun in this race. It's my first track 10k, and I found that I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's all about rhythm. The good news is that physically, this wasn't too draining. I might have enough left to grab a 5k qualifier tomorrow, which would allow me to not race until conference.
This race also showed me my fitness is coming around. My legs and lungs felt great, and I figure I had a mid to low 32 in me today. I only wish I had a couple more months to the season. I'm coming around too late.